Steamboat hockey skates to easy win

Sailors vent Friday frustration in Saturday romp against Cougars

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Steamboat Springs Hockey, 2008-09

— Nobody wanted to be in the Cougars' skates on Saturday.

Not with a frustrated Steamboat Springs High School hockey team coming off a pivotal 3-2 loss to Cheyenne Mountain on Friday. Any dissatisfaction Steamboat had from Friday's loss was taken out on Coronado High School, as the Sailors skated to an easy 7-2 win.

"We came out with a lot," Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. "We were a lot hungrier for the puck and a lot hungrier around the net. They proved that's the way they needed to play."

In addition to outshooting the Cougars, 45-18, the Sailors got scoring from nearly every line.

Jim Whelihan got the scoring going a minute into the first period when he took a feed from Kaelen Gunderson.

Cody Fritz, John Wharton, Eric Bonner and Ian Anderson all added second-period goals - the last three coming on a power play - to take a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.

"It was extremely important after a tough loss to come out like that," Ruff said. "It was important for us to set the tempo. Our guys proved to themselves and their team that they were there to compete."

Fritz added another goal early in the third period, and Jake Bearss completed the romp with a late goal of his own.

Steamboat, 13-4 overall, now prepares for its final weekend of the regular season. The team plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Pine Creek before welcoming Palmer for a 3 p.m. game Saturday. Both games are at Howelsen Ice Arena. Although Pine Creek has struggled this year, Palmer comes in sitting in second place in the Peak Conference. Steamboat currently is in fifth.

Ruff said while he was able to roll four lines Saturday, he'll more than likely shorten his bench during the weekend and get the pairings on the ice that are playing the best together.

And although Ruff is confident where his team is at, he said it's important to make sure Steamboat wins these last two games.

"They're extremely important," he said. "Every game we win is playoff seeding potential. We definitely need to win these last two games to get into that fourth position."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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